VIDEO: Read all about it - poetry challenge that means Winston is well versed in stories

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Poets may draw their inspiration from pretty much any aspect of life, an image, a phrase, something heard in passing.

But to turn others’ words into original work that interests and entertains as much as inspiration of a poet’s own choice is a discipline to which Hebden Bridge poet Winston Plowes is about to subject himself.

From Tuesday, he will be one of 78 poets from seven countries taking part in an experimental writing initiative for U.S. Poetry Month, which runs through April.

And his sources will be words moulded by, among others, writers of this newspaper as his source material will be news publications.

Winston has been selected to participate in the Oulipost project this April.

Co-ordinated by the Found Poetry Review, the initiative unites authors in applying the constrained writing techniques of the Oulipo group to text found in local newspapers.

Mr Plowes will be using The Hebden Bridge Times, Todmorden News, Brighouse Echo and Halifax Courier as his main source texts for part of the project, supplemented by an online publication.

Founded in 1960 by Raymond Queneau and François Le Lionnais, the Ouilipost group encourages the application of writing constraints to generate new structures and patterns. In all cases, the words and phrases incorporated into the poems must be taken from the poet’s local newspaper.

“This is a great opportunity to experiment with found language and it will be a tall order composing a poem each day as well as being an exciting challenge.

“Hopefully this will be something a little different for readers of my local papers,” explained Winston.

Winston is well used to challenges of all types when working with words.

He often hosts workshops with schools and older groups, runs a regular poetry night at Nelson’s Wine Bar in Crown Street, Hebden Bridge, and been poet-in-residence for the Rochdale Canal Festival 2012 and at the Hebden Bridge Arts Festival for the past three years.

This is the third year the Found Poetry Review has led a project for National Poetry Month. Last year, the journal enlisted 85 poets to create found poetry from the 85 Pulitzer Prize-winning works of fiction as part of its Pulitzer Remix project.

We will be publishing examples of Winston’s work through the month.

You can also keep track of Winston’s progress at and view updates from all Ouilipost poets at

- Winston has got in a little practice and produced this poem from stories featured in a recent issue of the Todmorden News, with the souce stories listed at the bottom of the poem.


A hundred days of arts events

Were very much a rich man’s toy

They found that people cared and talked

Allowing no delay for some

Expressed concerns about the home

But walking up the hill with bags

The picture house is set to break

A gabion retaining wall

The first to use the word petrol

Protect the public from the risk

The source for the poem were stories and other items in the Todmorden News of March 13, 2014, as follows: “I’m going to torch you all” p1; Le Grand Depart p1; Cinema screening will make history p17; From Sumarian chariot to 21st century hybrids p13; Crossword, Clue for 15 across p16; Readers Views, Please take the direct approach p15; Care provider appeals staff consultation ruling p5; and Work planned at former gas site p17.




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